HD46: The Central Texas Democratic Forum held a candidates’ forum today (Tuesday) attended by four Democrats actively seeking the seat. Former Austin council member Sheryl Cole, software engineer Greg Harrington, tech executive Nnamdi Orakwue and attorney Chito Vela took turns answering questions before two to three dozen attendees.

Rep. Dawnna Dukes (D-Austin) tweeted that the forum was “interesting news” and she was unaware that it was going to take place. “Quite odd during session to hold forum,” she tweeted in reply to the Texas Tribune’s Alexandra Samuels, who was covering the forum. Samuels tweeted that an event organizer extended invitations to Dukes to multiple email addresses.

Dukes was indicted last week by a Travis Co. grand jury on two misdemeanor counts of abuse of office and 13 felony counts of tampering with governmental records. She has indicated she would plead not guilty. Dukes previously announced plans to resign when the legislative session began but now intends to serve the term to which she was elected in November.

SBOE: Gov. Greg Abbott re-appointed Donna Bahorich (R-Houston) chair of the State Board of Education, subject to Senate confirmation. First elected to the board in 2012, she was re-elected to a four-year term in November with 54% of the vote.

Corpus Christi: The city council formally accepted the resignation of Mayor Dan McQueen. The council did not set a date for a special election to fill his unexpired term. Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn Vaughn is serving as mayor for now. Former Mayor Nelda Martinez is expected to seek her former job when the special election is announced, facing several current and former council members.

San Antonio: Perennial candidate Rhett Smith became the sixth candidate to file against incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor. The retired private security professional has run unsuccessfully for several offices since 2004, including five races for mayor:

  • CD35 in 2016 as a Libertarian, earning 3% of the vote in the general election
  • Mayor of San Antonio in 2015 (<1%)
  • Bexar Co. Judge in 2014 as a Libertarian (2%)
  • Mayor of San Antonio in 2013 (13%)
  • CD14 in 2012 as a Green (<1%)
  • San Antonio River Authority board in 2011 (7%)
  • Mayor of San Antonio in 2009 (<1%)
  • S. Senator in 2008, receiving 10% in the Democrat primary
  • Mayor of San Antonio in 2007 (1%)
  • Governor in 2006, receiving 5% in the Republican primary
  • Mayor of San Antonio in 2005 (<1%); and
  • CD21 in 2004 as a Democrat (36% in general, unopposed in primary).

He joins contractor Antonio Diaz, council member Ron Nirenberg, consultant Gerard Ponce, paramedic Keven Roles and clinical psychologist John Velasquez. Ponce also ran in 2015, garnering 97 votes.

Former Bexar Co. Democratic Party Chair Manuel Medina has announced his candidacy but not yet filed.